The School of Shamanic Midwifery (SSM) is a Women’s Mysteries School for midwives and doulas, a gathering of wise women, a year long Earth based ‘religious’ experience. It will awaken in you a deeper connection to the cycles - the way of life - and enable in you a range of ancient and traditional skills and tools to serve women and the birth process. The School of Shamanic Midwifery is based in Australia and is given and co-ordinated by Jane Hardwicke Collings, Homebirth Midwife, Mother, Grandmother. Jane has apprenticed with many great teachers – Maggie Lecky Thompson, Blackbear James Harvey and the late Jeannine Parvati Baker. She brings the experience of 25 years of homebirths and shamanic practice together and, as requested, presents what she has learnt and commits to helping facilitate those who are interested on their journey toward being Shamanic Midwives.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

SSM1 Full Moon Gathering, Feb 26th - 28th

....and the journey continues.

To this point, most of the SSM1 students have participated in a few Moonsong and Pregnancy The Inner Journey workshops, deepening their experience and knowledge. Their knowledge of the cycles - lunar, menstrual, Earth season, life season and the inner journey of pregnancy with all its transformative opportunities, as well as the experience of being with women in circle. Several of the SSM1 women have done this work - or play - for many years, and for some its new, but for all its 'old' and very, very familar. I opened the Full Moon Gathering with the following words that came to me one night.....

We have been here before. That time, those times, there have been many, were different, are different. This time is more different again. This time as we gather together, finding each other again, we are free. This time we need not fear being seen or found, this time we may be openly who we are, in fact we must be. That's the point, you know what to do, but now this time do it openly, proudly and share it with whomever is interested.

We come this time as well with many more gifts, talents and connections, we come each in our power. Each in our power and ready for the tasks ahead. Individually we shall each have a major influence in our communities and together we will combine our forces and make the prayers and actions required of us. I don't know what those are, but we will know when we know. The Goddess as I call her, She to whom I have dedicated my life, over and over, will speak to me and I will know. She, in whatever shape and form you recognise her this time, will do the same to you.

All this is.

The School of Shamanic Midwifery is a school, as in a school of fish - together, feeling the 'at-one-ness', we move.

We felt this at-one-ness this weekend as we sat around our central altar, positioned according to where we each were in our menstrual cycle or for those pregnant or breastfeeding, in alignment with the moon phase - one day off Full. This was the most populated as we had two women breastfeeding, two women pregnant and two in sync with the moon. Hearing each other speak we could easily sense the ''many faces of the Goddess', the energy across the circle was both where we had been and where we were headed.

One of the focuses of the Gathering was journeying to meet our power animals, making masks of them, sharing their medicine, invoking them and beneath the full She Moon, dancing them. Power animals or totem animals or familiars, have long been worked with in various traditions. They are known as the messengers of Great Spirit, a connection with the essence of Nature as guide, advisor, healer and another opportunity to feel the interconnectedness of all things and beings in all realms, a way to tap into a deeper sense of knowing.

We danced the 'Long Dance' described by Elizabeth Cogburn. Winding into the ceremony, dancing the Yang circle then the Yin circle, we arrived at the centre. One by one, together in the dark, dressed in our masks and accoutrement, we called our power animals in. Scaled, winged, four legged and all of the above, the many She's expressed themselves with sound, movement and in relationship to each other. Held by four drummers, in turn at the directions, maintaining the beat that pulsed through and around us. Clouds reflecting the energies swirled above us, the full moon bursting through lighting us, the drums carrying us, we journeyed on, through and within the animals medicine. Many of the women had profound and deep experiences of their power animal's gifts and teachings that helped make sense of their connection and filled them with meaning and answers much needed for life.

Either side of our ceremony in the daylight hours we had two dialogues. One on 'ways to protect self and others' and 'ways to use the breath to raise energy and power'. Such wisdom we hold. As scribe I wrote quickly, catching the wise words of the experiences of twelve lifetimes. Blessed we are to now have these manuals.

In closing, we planned for our next gathering - the Vision Quest. And we dreamed of what we're to do together beyond our school, how we can serve the greater good, how we can share the wealth we're accumulating in our blessed experiences together.

And dreamed we did, dreamed big. So stand by!

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